Various thoughts on various things, all in 50 words or less:
Found this trend interesting: Since 2016, the Ravens are 2-4 in games heading into their bye (including last week's loss to the Bengals) and they're 4-1 coming out of the bye, with the only loss to the Steelers in 2020. Bodes well for their Nov. 7 game against the Vikings.
So far in 2021, the Ravens have lost to two first-place teams (Raiders, Bengals) and beaten three that may well make the playoffs in the end (Chargers, Chiefs, Colts). It hasn't been the easiest of roads, in other words. There's a lot to like about being 5-2, all things considered.
It won't surprise me if General Manager Eric DeCosta makes a move before the trade deadline next week, even given the Ravens' limited salary cap flexibility. New blood at running back makes the most sense. The offense could use a more explosive back capable of gaining yards outside the tackles.
Yes, they also could add an offensive tackle. But Patrick Mekari's ankle sprain shouldn't keep him out too long and they just signed Cedric Ogbuehi for depth. Tyre Phillips received solid grades from Pro Football Focus when he replaced Mekari last week. I see running back as the higher priority.
Of the 21 touchdowns the Ravens' opponents have scored in 2021, seven came on plays of at least 40 yards, and in all, more than half (11) were on plays longer than 30 yards. In other words, limiting big plays ranks high on the defense's to-do list going forward.
Although the Ravens' defensive front is allowing fewer yards per rushing attempt this season (4.3) than it did a year ago (4.6) or in 2019 (4.4), it could still stand to perform more consistently. One guy can't make all the difference, but Derek Wolfe's anticipated return should help.
The Ravens' offensive line is rightfully taking some heat after the Bengals sacked Lamar Jackson five times and hit him seven other times, but in fairness, Jackson held the ball too long on several of those plays. He was trying to make things happen, but sometimes it's just not there.
The Ravens are really going to need to dig in to keep from giving up more than 4,000 passing yards in a season for the first time ever. They've given up 2,073 through seven games, and with 10 games remaining, they're currently on pace to go well over.
To help you decide whether to root for the Browns or Steelers when they meet Sunday, just ask yourself which, in your view, is likelier to pose a serious challenge to the Ravens' playoff chances. Then root for the other. For record, I'm having a hard time making the call.
Interesting to hear Pass Game Coordinator/Secondary Coach Chris Hewitt state that consistent tackling starts with having the right "mindset," which he further described as a "want to" the coaches continually drive home as important. In other words, the Ravens' struggles in that area may be more mental than physical.